Unprecedented Surge: Indians Become Third-Largest Group of Illegal Immigrants in the US

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In a recent revelation by the Pew Research Center, it has been disclosed that Indians have emerged as the third-largest group of illegal immigrants in the United States, numbering around 725,000. This statistic places them behind Mexico and El Salvador, as part of a broader trend that has seen the total population of unauthorized immigrants in the US reach 10.5 million in 2021, constituting approximately three percent of the total US population and 22 percent of the foreign-born population.

The traditional narrative of undocumented immigration has seen Mexico at the forefront, accounting for 39 percent of the nation’s unauthorized immigrants in 2021, with a notable decline of 900,000 from 2017 to 2021. This decline, however, is contrasted by a significant increase in the number of illegal immigrants from other countries, reaching a total of 6.4 million in 2021, up by 900,000 from 2017. Notably, India, along with Brazil, Canada, and former Soviet Union countries, has experienced substantial growth during this period.

The latest data from the US Customs and Border Protection brings attention to an unprecedented surge in undocumented Indian immigrants crossing US borders on foot. Between October 2022 and September 2023, a staggering 96,917 Indians were either apprehended, expelled, or denied entry for entering the US without proper documentation. This surge follows the opening of borders after the COVID-19 pandemic, with 30,662 encounters in the 2021 fiscal year and a substantial increase to 63,927 in the 2022 fiscal year.

Geographically, the encounters are spread across both the Canadian and Southern borders, with 30,010 occurring at the former and 41,770 at the latter. The reasons behind this surge are multifaceted, involving economic opportunities, political instability, and various factors influencing migration patterns.

The Pew research also delves into the impact of undocumented immigrants on the US labor force, revealing that approximately 7.8 million illegal immigrants were part of the workforce in 2021. This statistic raises important questions about the economic implications of this workforce and its role in sustaining various industries.

While some US states experienced increases in their unauthorized immigrant populations, with Florida and Washington witnessing notable upticks, California and Nevada saw decreases. These state-specific trends highlight the complex nature of immigration issues, influenced by regional dynamics, job markets, and policy differences.

Contrastingly, legal immigration has seen substantial growth, with the lawful immigrant population expanding by more than eight million, representing a 29 percent increase. Furthermore, the number of naturalized US citizens grew by an impressive 49 percent in 2021, indicating a parallel narrative of individuals pursuing legal pathways to citizenship.

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